This post was originally published on June 26, 2007.
It was a bittersweet weekend.
I've mentioned before that my parents are in the process of moving to a house in our neighborhood. It will be the first time I've lived in the same town as my parents since I left for college. We are absolutely thrilled by this. Their move is in its very final stages; this last weekend, in fact, was their last in the little Arkansas town where I grew up.
This is significant to my family because my dad, and his dad, and his dad have lived in "Mayberry" for a zillion years, making countless dear friends and leaving an imprint on the community which cannot be measured (and I'm not bragging--it's all my family's doing, not mine. The extent of my contribution to the community was twirling a fire baton at homecoming a couple of years, without setting anyone on fire).
My brother's family and my own met there this past weekend to say "goodbye" to our old haunts. While my parents will likely be returning there to visit, my brother and I know that it will likely be a very, very long time until we return.
The weekend included a community-sponsored "roast" of my Dad, all in good fun and uproariously funny. I gave a sweaty-palmed speech (I loathe public speaking to the core of being, but I'd do it for my dad) as did many others. And at the risk of sounding corny (though we both know I passed that a LONG time ago) I can tell you that I don't think I've ever been so proud of my parents. Hearing all those people pay tribute to them, all the while knowing they're embarking with great courage on a huge life change--well, I could just burst.
Anyway, our weekend was spent re-visiting all the places that have meant so much to me: the house were I grew up, the cemetary where my grandparents are buried, my schools, my friends' old houses, the church where I met Jesus and married my husband...really, I'm just a big, sappy, homegrown ball of emotion as I think about it.
This town is a place all its own, and I took a few pictures to prove it (more pictures are here).
For starters, we took the kids out to an old swimming hole just outside of town--gorgeous place. I never realized how pretty the hills of Arkansas are until I left them. Here's my dad with two of my boys:
Here's a shot of the downtown. I told you it was just like Mayberry:
Most of the local business are patriotic. Just a little:
This is the picturesque building that housed the business my grandfather, then my dad, built:
Next is the A-1 Superstop, home of the finest biscuits west of the Mississippi. Actually, I included this picture because my husband reminded me this weekend of the time we were visiting Mayberry and he (a confirmed big-city boy) ran in to the A-1 to grab a bottle of water. The cashier had just finished a conversation with a previous customer, and she turned to my Hubs and said, "Man, there's nothing worse than opening up the newspaper to find your name listed in the arrest warrants section, is there?" My bewildered Hubs mumbled something about "hate it when that happens":
This last shot is just because I couldn't resist. In Mayberry there's a bait shop next door to the Sonic. Because, you know, nothing puts me in the mood for a Diet Cherry Limeade like chicken liver:
I love that place, and I'm feeling the kind of rest that comes from a good, long look at one's roots. I miss it--just a little--already.